|« Prev||Chapter 13||Next »|
And not many days after he provided for his journey, and went towards Hell-Gate Hill, into the country where the Doubters were, where he heard of all that had been talked of in Mansoul, and he perceived also that Diabolus was almost ready for his march, etc. So he came back with speed, and, calling the captains and elders of Mansoul together, he told them where he had been, what he had heard, and what he had seen. Particularly, he told them that Diabolus was almost ready for his march, and that he had made old Mr. Incredulity, that once brake prison in Mansoul, the general of his army; that his army consisted all of Doubters, and that their number was above twenty thousand. He told, moreover, that Diabolus did intend to bring with him the chief princes of the infernal pit, and that he would make them chief captains over his Doubters. He told them, moreover, that it was certainly true that several of the black den would, with Diabolus, ride reformades to reduce the town of Mansoul to the obedience of Diabolus, their prince.
He said, moreover, that he understood by the Doubters, among whom he had been, that the reason why old Incredulity was made general of the whole army, was because none truer than he to the tyrant; and because he had an implacable spite against the welfare of the town of Mansoul. ‘Besides,’ said he, ‘he remembers the affronts that Mansoul has given him, and he is resolved to be revenged of them.
‘But the black princes shall be made high commanders, only Incredulity shall be over them all; because, which I had almost forgot, he can more easily, and more dexterously, beleaguer the town of Mansoul, than can any of the princes besides.’
Now, when the captains of Mansoul, with the elders of the town, had heard the tidings that Mr. Prywell did bring, they thought it expedient, without further delay, to put into execution the laws that against the Diabolonians their Prince had made for them, and given them in commandment to manage against them. Wherefore, forthwith a diligent and impartial search was made in all houses in Mansoul, for all and all manner of Diabolonians. Now, in the house of Mr. Mind, and in the house of the great Lord Willbewill, were two Diabolonians found. In Mr. Mind’s house was one Lord Covetousness found; but he had changed his name to Prudent-Thrifty. In my Lord Willbewill’s house, one Lasciviousness was found; but he had changed his name to Harmless-Mirth. These two the captains and elders of the town of Mansoul took, and committed them to custody under the hand of Mr. True-Man, the gaoler; and this man handled them so severely, and loaded them so well with irons, that in time they both fell into a very deep consumption, and died in the prison-house; their masters also, according to the agreement of the captains and elders, were brought to take penance in the open place, to their shame, and for a warning to the rest of the town of Mansoul.
Now, this was the manner of penance in those days: the persons offending being made sensible of the evil of their doings, were enjoined open confession of their faults, and a strict amendment of their lives.
After this, the captains and elders of Mansoul sought yet to find out more Diabolonians, wherever they lurked, whether in dens, caves, holes, vaults, or where else they could, in or about the wall or town of Mansoul. But though they could plainly see their footing, and so follow them by their track and smell to their holds, even to the mouths of their caves and dens, yet take them, hold them, and do justice upon them, they could not; their ways were so crooked, their holds so strong, and they so quick to take sanctuary there.
But Mansoul did now with so stiff an hand rule over the Diabolonians that were left, that they were glad to shrink into corners: time was when they durst walk openly, and in the day; but now they were forced to embrace privacy and the night: time was when a Mansoulian was their companion; but now they counted them deadly enemies. This good change did Mr. Prywell’s intelligence make in the famous town of Mansoul.
By this time, Diabolus had finished his army which he intended to bring with him for the ruin of Mansoul; and had set over them captains, and other field officers, such as liked his furious stomach best: himself was lord paramount, Incredulity was general of his army, their highest captains shall be named afterwards; but now for their officers, colours, and scutcheons.
1. Their first captain was Captain Rage: he was captain over the Election Doubters, his were the red colours; his standard-bearer was Mr. Destructive, and the great red dragon he had for his scutcheon.
2. The second captain was Captain Fury: he was captain over the Vocation Doubters; his standard-bearer was Mr. Darkness; his colours were those that were pale, and he had for his scutcheon the fiery flying serpent.
3. The third captain was Captain Damnation: he was captain over the Grace Doubters; his were the red colours; Mr. No-Life bare them, and he had for his scutcheon the black den.
4. The fourth captain was Captain Insatiable: he was captain over the Faith Doubters; his were the red colours; Mr. Devourer bare them, and he had for a scutcheon the yawning jaws.
5. The fifth captain was Captain Brimstone: he was captain over the Perseverance Doubters; his also were the red colours; Mr. Burning bare them, and his scutcheon was the blue and stinking flame.
6. The sixth captain was Captain Torment: he was captain over the Resurrection Doubters; his colours were those that were pale; Mr. Gnaw was his standard-bearer, and he had the black worm for his scutcheon.
7. The seventh captain was Captain No-Ease: he was captain over the Salvation Doubters; his were the red colours; Mr. Restless bare them, and his scutcheon was the ghastly picture of death.
8. The eighth captain was the Captain Sepulchre: he was captain over the Glory Doubters; his also were the pale colours; Mr. Corruption was his standard-bearer, and he had for his scutcheon a skull and dead men’s bones.
9. The ninth captain was Captain Past-Hope: he was captain of those that are called the Felicity Doubters; his standard-bearer was Mr. Despair; his also were the red colours, and his scutcheon was a hot iron and the hard heart.
These were his captains, and these were their forces, these were their standards, these were their colours, and these were their scutcheons. Now, over these did the great Diabolus make superior captains, and they were in number seven: as, namely, the Lord Beelzebub, the Lord Lucifer, the Lord Legion, the Lord Apollyon, the Lord Python, the Lord Cerberus, and the Lord Belial; these seven he set over the captains, and Incredulity was lord-general, and Diabolus was king. The reformades also, such as were like themselves, were made some of them captains of hundreds, and some of them captains of more. And thus was the army of Incredulity completed.
So they set out at Hell-Gate Hill, for there they had their rendezvous, from whence they came with a straight course upon their march toward the town of Mansoul. Now, as was hinted before, the town had, as Shaddai would have it, received from the mouth of Mr. Prywell the alarm of their coming before. Wherefore they set a strong watch at the gates, and had also doubled their guards: they also mounted their slings in good places, where they might conveniently cast out their great stones to the annoyance of their furious enemy.
Nor could those Diabolonians that were in the town do that hurt as was designed they should; for Mansoul was now awake. But, alas! poor people, they were sorely affrighted at the first appearance of their foes, and at their sitting down before the town, especially when they heard the roaring of their drum. This, to speak truth, was amazingly hideous to hear; it frighted all men seven miles round, if they were but awake and heard it. The streaming of their colours was also terrible and dejecting to behold.
When Diabolus was come up against the town, first he made his approach to Ear-gate, and gave it a furious assault, supposing, as it seems, that his friends in Mansoul had been ready to do the work within; but care was taken of that before, by the vigilance of the captains. Wherefore, missing of the help that he expected from them, and finding his army warmly attended with the stones that the slingers did sling (for that I will say for the captains, that considering the weakness that yet was upon them by reason of the long sickness that had annoyed the town of Mansoul, they did gallantly behave themselves), he was forced to make some retreat from Mansoul, and to entrench himself and his men in the field without the reach of the slings of the town.
Now, having entrenched himself, he did cast up four mounts against the town: the first he called Mount Diabolus, putting his own name thereon, the more to affright the town of Mansoul; the other three he called thus, Mount Alecto, Mount Megara, and Mount Tisiphone; for these are the names of the dreadful Furies of hell. Thus he began to play his game with Mansoul, and to serve it as doth the lion his prey, even to make it fall before his terror. But, as I said, the captains and soldiers resisted so stoutly, and did do such execution with their stones, that they made him, though against stomach, to retreat; wherefore Mansoul began to take courage.
Now upon Mount Diabolus, which was raised on the north side of the town, there did the tyrant set up his standard, and a fearful thing it was to behold; for he had wrought in it by devilish art, after the manner of a scutcheon, a flaming flame fearful to behold, and the picture of Mansoul burning in it.
When Diabolus had thus done, he commanded that his drummer should every night approach the walls of the town of Mansoul, and so to beat a parley; the command was to do it at nights, for in the day-time they annoyed him with their slings; for the tyrant said that he had a mind to parley with the now trembling town of
Mansoul, and he commanded that the drums should beat every night, that through weariness they might at last, if possible (at the first they were unwilling yet), be forced to do it.
So this drummer did as commanded: he arose, and did beat his drum. But when his drum did go, if one looked toward the town of Mansoul, ‘behold, darkness and sorrow, and the light was darkened in the heaven thereof.’ No noise was ever heard upon earth more terrible, except the voice of Shaddai when he speaketh. But how did Mansoul tremble! it now looked for nothing but forthwith to be swallowed up.
When this drummer had beaten for a parley, he made this speech to Mansoul: ‘My master has bid me tell you, that if you will willingly submit, you shall have the good of the earth; but if you shall be stubborn, he is resolved to take you by force.’ But by that the fugitive had done beating his drum, the people of Mansoul had betaken themselves to the captains that were in the castle, so that there was none to regard, nor to give this drummer an answer; so he proceeded no further that night, but returned again to his master to the camp.
When Diabolus saw that by drumming he could not work out Mansoul to his will, the next night he sendeth his drummer without his drum, still to let the townsmen know that he had a mind to parley with them. But when all came to all, his parley was turned into a summons to the town to deliver up themselves: but they gave him neither heed nor hearing, for they remembered what at first it cost them to hear him a few words.
The next night he sends again, and then who should be his messenger to Mansoul but the terrible Captain Sepulchre? So Captain Sepulchre came up to the walls of Mansoul, and made this oration to the town:—
‘O ye inhabitants of the rebellious town of Mansoul! I summon you in the name of the prince Diabolus, that, without any more ado, you set open the gates of your town, and admit the great lord to come in. But if you shall still rebel, when we have taken to us the town by force, we will swallow you up as the grave; wherefore, if you will hearken to my summons, say so, and if not, then let me know.
‘The reason of this my summons,’ quoth he, ‘is, for that my lord is your undoubted prince and lord, as you yourselves have formerly owned. Nor shall that assault that was given to my lord, when Emmanuel dealt so dishonourably by him, prevail with him to lose his right, and to forbear to attempt to recover his own. Consider, then, O Mansoul, with thyself, wilt thou show thyself peaceable, or no? If thou shalt quietly yield up thyself, then our old friendship shall be renewed; but if thou shalt yet refuse and rebel, then expect nothing but fire and sword.’
When the languishing town of Mansoul had heard this summoner and his summons, they were yet more put to their dumps, but made to the captain no answer at all; so away he went as he came.
But, after some consultation among themselves, as also with some of their captains, they applied themselves afresh to the Lord Secretary for counsel and advice from him; for this Lord Secretary was their chief preacher (as also is mentioned some pages before), only now he was ill at ease; and of him they begged favour in these two or three things:
1. That he would look comfortably upon them, and not keep himself so much retired from them as formerly. Also, that he would be prevailed with to give them a hearing, while they should make known their miserable condition to him. But to this he told them as before, ‘that as yet he was but ill at ease, and therefore could not do as he had formerly done.’
2. The second thing that they desired was, that he would be pleased to give them his advice about their now so important affairs, for that Diabolus was come and set down before the town with no less than twenty thousand Doubters. They said, moreover, that both he and his captains were cruel men, and that they were afraid of them. But to this he said, ‘You must look to the law of the Prince, and there see what is laid upon you to do.’
3. Then they desired that his highness would help them to frame a petition to Shaddai, and unto Emmanuel his Son, and that he would set his own hand thereto as a token that he was one with them in it: ‘For,’ said they, ‘my Lord, many a one have we sent, but can get no answer of peace; but now, surely, one with thy hand unto it may obtain good for Mansoul.’
But all the answer that he gave to this was, ‘that they had offended their Emmanuel, and had also grieved himself, and that therefore they must as yet partake of their own devices.’
This answer of the Lord Secretary fell like a millstone upon them; yea, it crushed them so that they could not tell what to do; yet they durst not comply with the demands of Diabolus, nor with the demands of his captain. So then here were the straits that the town of Mansoul was betwixt, when the enemy came upon her: her foes were ready to swallow her up, and her friends did forbear to help her.
Then stood up my Lord Mayor, whose name was my Lord Understanding, and he began to pick and pick, until he had picked comfort out of that seemingly bitter saying of the Lord Secretary; for thus he descanted upon it: ‘First,’ said he, ‘this unavoidably follows upon the saying of my Lord, “that we must yet suffer for our sins.” Secondly, but,’ quoth he, ‘the words yet sound as if at last we should be saved from our enemies, and that after a few more sorrows, Emmanuel will come and be our help.’ Now the Lord Mayor was the more critical in his dealing with the Secretary’s words, because my Lord was more than a prophet, and because none of his words were such, but that at all times they were most exactly significant; and the townsmen were allowed to pry into them, and to expound them to their best advantage.
So they took their leaves of my Lord, and returned, and went, and came to the captains, to whom they did tell what my Lord High Secretary had said; who, when they had heard it, were all of the same opinion as was my Lord Mayor himself. The captains, therefore, began to take some courage unto them, and to prepare to make some brave attempt upon the camp of the enemy, and to destroy all that were Diabolonians, with the roving Doubters that the tyrant had brought with him to destroy the poor town of Mansoul.
So all betook themselves forthwith to their places-the captains to theirs, the Lord Mayor to his, the subordinate preacher to his, and my Lord Willbewill to his. The captains longed to be at some work for their Prince; for they delighted in warlike achievements. The next day, therefore, they came together and consulted; and after consultation had, they resolved to give an answer to the captain of Diabolus with slings; and so they did at the rising of the sun on the morrow; for Diabolus had adventured to come nearer again, but the sling-stones were to him and his like hornets. For as there is nothing to the town of Mansoul so terrible as the roaring of Diabolus’s drum, so there is nothing to Diabolus so terrible as the well playing of Emmanuel’s slings. Wherefore Diabolus was forced to make another retreat, yet farther off from the famous town of Mansoul. Then did the Lord Mayor of Mansoul cause the bells to be rung, ‘and that thanks should be sent to the Lord High Secretary by the mouth of the subordinate preacher; for that by his words the captains and elders of Mansoul had been strengthened against Diabolus.’
When Diabolus saw that his captains and soldiers, high lords and renowned, were frightened, and beaten down by the stones that came from the golden slings of the Prince of the town of Mansoul, he bethought himself, and said, ‘I will try to catch them by fawning, I will try to flatter them into my net.’
Wherefore, after a while, he came down again to the wall, not now with his drum, nor with Captain Sepulchre; but having all be-sugared-his lips, he seemed to be a very sweet-mouthed, peaceable prince, designing nothing for humour’s sake, nor to be revenged on Mansoul for injuries by them done to him; but the welfare, and good, and advantage of the town and people therein was now, as he said, his only design. Wherefore, after he had called for audience, and desired that the townsfolk would give it to him, he proceeded in his oration, and said:—
‘Oh, the desire of my heart, the famous town of Mansoul! how many nights have I watched, and how many weary steps have I taken, if perhaps I might do thee good! Far be it, far be it from me to desire to make a war upon you; if ye will but willingly and quietly deliver up yourselves unto me. You know that you were mine of old. Remember also, that so long as you enjoyed me for your lord, and that I enjoyed you for my subjects, you wanted for nothing of all the delights of the earth, that I, your lord and prince, could get for you, or that I could invent to make you bonny and blithe withal. Consider, you never had so many hard, dark, troublesome, and heart-afflicting hours, while you were mine, as you have had since you revolted from me; nor shall you ever have peace again, until you and I become one as before. But, be but prevailed with to embrace me again, and I will grant, yea, enlarge your old charter with abundance of privileges; so that your licence and liberty shall be to take, hold, enjoy, and make your own all that is pleasant from the east to the west. Nor shall any of those incivilities, wherewith you have offended me, be ever charged upon you by me, so long as the sun and moon endure. Nor shall any of those dear friends of mine that now, for the fear of you, lie lurking in dens, and holes, and caves in Mansoul, be hurtful to you any more; yea, they shall be your servants, and shall minister unto you of their substance, and of whatever shall come to hand. I need speak no more; you know them, and have some time since been much delighted in their company. Why, then, should we abide at such odds? Let us renew our old acquaintance and friendship again.
‘Bear with your friend; I take the liberty at this time to speak thus freely unto you. The love that I have to you presses me to do it, as also does the zeal of my heart for my friends with you: put me not therefore to further trouble, nor yourselves to further fears and frights. Have you I will, in a way of peace or war; nor do you flatter yourselves with the power and force of your captains, or that your Emmanuel will shortly come in to your help; for such strength will do you no pleasure.
‘I am come against you with a stout and valiant army, and all the chief princes of the den are even at the head of it. Besides, my captains are swifter than eagles, stronger than lions, and more greedy of prey than are the evening wolves. What is Og of Bashan? what is Goliath of Gath? and what are an hundred more of them, to one of the least of my captains? How, then, shall Mansoul think to escape my hand and force?’
Diabolus having thus ended his flattering, fawning, deceitful, and lying speech to the famous town of Mansoul, the Lord Mayor replied to him as follows:—
‘O Diabolus, prince of darkness, and master of all deceit; thy lying flatteries we have had and made sufficient probation of, and have tasted too deeply of that destructive cup already. Should we therefore again hearken unto thee, and so break the commandments of our great Shaddai, to join in affinity with thee, would not our Prince reject us, and cast us off for ever? And, being cast off by him, can the place that he has prepared for thee be a place of rest for us? Besides, O thou that art empty and void of all truth, we are rather ready to die by thy hand, than to fall in with thy flattering and lying deceits.’
When the tyrant saw that there was little to be got by parleying with my Lord Mayor, he fell into an hellish rage, and resolved that again, with his army of Doubters, he would another time assault the town of Mansoul.
So he called for his drummer, who beat up for his men (and while he did beat, Mansoul did shake) to be in a readiness to give battle to the corporation: then Diabolus drew near with his army, and thus disposed of his men. Captain Cruel and Captain Torment, these he drew up and placed against Feel-gate, and commanded them to sit down there for the war. And he also appointed that, if need were, Captain No-Ease should come in to their relief. At Nose-gate he placed the Captain Brimstone and Captain Sepulchre, and bid them look well to their ward, on that side of the town of Mansoul. But at Eye-gate he placed that grim-faced one, the Captain Past-Hope, and there also now he did set up his terrible standard.
Now Captain Insatiable, he was to look to the carriages of Diabolus, and was also appointed to take into custody that, or those persons and things, that should at any time as prey be taken from the enemy.
Now Mouth-gate the inhabitants of Mansoul kept for a sally-port; wherefore that they kept strong; for that was it by and out at which the townsfolk did send their petitions to Emmanuel their Prince. That also was the gate from the top of which the captains did play their slings at the enemies; for that gate stood somewhat ascending, so that the placing of them there, and the letting of them fly from that place, did much execution against the tyrant’s army. Wherefore, for these causes, with others, Diabolus sought, if possible, to land up Mouth-gate with dirt.
|« Prev||Chapter 13||Next »|